Despite what people in the lower 48 think, Alaska in the winter isn’t all that bad. It’s not like we’re all holed up in our homes and pining for sunlight. Alaskans are tough, after all. But that doesn’t mean that winter isn’t hard on a lot of us. While we may not be going crazy from cabin fever, the lack of sunlight and decreased activity during the winter can have effects on our mental health. But an increasing number of studies show mental health benefits of chiropractic — which could benefit your mood and energy this winter in Anchorage.
You Don’t Have to Put Up With Winter Depression
Humans need sunlight, activity, and interaction. And for many people in Alaska, it becomes harder to get all three of those important things during the winter. Sometimes the depression people experience during the winter is called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for short.
Studies show that Alaskans do see an increase in seasonal mood issues over those living closer to the equator. Many people think that changes in mood in the winter are simply something to put up with until spring comes, but this doesn’t have to be the case.
There are several things you can do to improve your mood during the winter months in Alaska. And one of the best is chiropractic care. So if you’re experiencing pain, depression, or lethargy, click here to visit our chiropractors at Better Health Anchorage to discover the full benefits of chiropractic care.
And these benefits are in addition to the other proven positives that come with regular chiropractic care. But, like anything else, the proof is in the pudding. So let’s take a look at how and why chiropractic care improves your mental health during the harsh Alaskan winter.
Chiropractic Care Isn’t Just for Injuries
Many people head to the chiropractor when they experience an injury from a car or sports accident. Others go to the chiropractor because of neck or back pain. But you’ve probably never heard of someone going to their chiropractor for a mood boost, relaxation, or better sleep.
However, just as a chiropractor can help you relieve your back pain or heal after an injury, he (or she) can also help you with a number of other issues that can help your mental health.
These benefits include things like:
- Lowered Stress Levels
- Better Sleep
- Better Mobility and Headache Reduction
- Improved Relaxation
Let’s take a look at all these, some studies to back them up, and why they’re important during the Alaskan winter.
The Proven Mental Health Benefits of Chiropractic Care
It’s one thing to say that something “helps you relax” or that it “makes you feel calm.” And while there’s certainly something to be said for whatever works to make you feel better, it’s a different story when we’re talking about things like depression and anxiety, which are both common during the winter months.
In order for something to be treated, it needs to be treatable. And for it to be treatable, it needs to have symptoms that most people experience. With that in mind, let’s look at the common symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Trouble sleeping
- Inability to relax and wind down
- Muscle soreness and/or stiffness
- Aches and pains in the body
Additionally, there are some symptoms specific to winter Season Affective Disorder that it’s important to consider before we move on. These include:
- Feeling sluggish and low-energy
- Weight gain
- Feeling like you want to “hibernate” or withdrawal socially
With these symptoms in mind, let’s look at how chiropractic care and related modalities can help.
Lowered Stress and Positive Hormones
Studies show that spinal adjustments can release positive hormones, which help to regulate stress in the body. These hormones include neurotensin, which helps eliminate stress-induced pain, and oxytocin, which acts as a neurotransmitter and is considered one of our “happy hormones.”
While lowered stress levels can certainly contribute to better sleep, there’s more evidence that says massage therapy, a common chiropractic modality, helps people sleep better. The evidence supporting chiropractic manipulation in this area is anecdotal, but the studies showing how massage therapy benefits sleep are clear.
One study, in particular, found that massage therapy performed by a trained therapist improved sleep among cancer patients. The authors of the study suggested that massage therapy is a valid non-pharmacological choice for improving sleep.
At Better Health Chiropractic and Physical Rehab, we use chiropractic massage therapy for its many benefits, including improved sleep.
Better Mobility and Headache Reduction
Alaskans who experience stiffness in the winter will know how much limited mobility can get you down. A lot of times, people don’t realize how much this affects their mood until they find relief and can move freely again without pain. And through adjustments, chiropractors can improve mobility to make life that much better. And adjustments aren’t just for the spine; chiropractors can help improve mobility in the shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles.
Additionally, there’s evidence to show that chiropractic care can help reduce the frequency and intensity of tension headaches. This is good news for anyone who suffers from stress-induced headaches.
Relaxation is another benefit of chiropractic care. While this may seem counterintuitive if you experience fatigue or low energy, there’s a big difference between feeling low-energy and good relaxation. One study showed a 25% reduction in muscle activity after chiropractic adjustment. This is beneficial for feeling better, getting adequate sleep, and staying active during the winter.
If you get to feeling down with the winter blues, don’t get down on yourself. It’s pretty common for Alaskans, and it can be serious. Luckily, chiropractic care can help you keep out of the doldrums during the winter months — and beyond.
The nice thing is that these mental health benefits are in addition to the many other chiropractic benefits for spinal health and posture, preventing degenerative diseases, and relieving pain from injuries or herniated discs. Make an appointment today to experience the full benefits of chiropractic care.